A Surprise Death


It was just a few days before Christmas in 1896 when Joseph Harvey Mikesell suddenly died. The news appeared in The Neodesha Daily Sun, (Neodesha, Kansas) 24 Dec 1896, page 2. His wife Sarilda Jane Ashlock was my grandmother, Ruth Vining’s half-sister. They were 30 years apart in age, as Ruth was the youngest of the large family.

Joseph was described by the Wilson County Sun as a fisherman and trapper. He was just returning with wagon and team from a two or three weeks trapping expedition up the river. He had stopped at Dun station to sell his hides when he was stricken with apoplexy and died in C. S. Adell’s store, about nine o’clock at night.

Joseph Mikesell’s headstone (Photo by William Fischer, Jr. on Find-a-Grave)


At Dun Station, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 1896, Joseph H. Mikesell, of this city. Mr. Mikesell had been on a protracted hunting and trapping expedition, and was on his way back to Neodesha to spend Christmas. He stopped at Adell’s store at Dun yesterday at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and disposed of his game, hides etc., and had stepped outside the door when he suffered a stroke of apoplexy and died at 9 o’clock last night. He was unconcious almost from the time of the stroke and did not suffer. The stroke, it is supposed, was brought on by exposure, and was unheralded by any warning whatever.

Joseph H. Mikesell was born in Elkhart county Ind., April 17, 1847. During the year ’64 he enlisted and had the distinction of being the youngest soldier in the 16th Kansas Regiment, Company I, which was stationed at Fort Leavenworth. In the winter of ’64 he went with Gen. McCook’s brigade to Santa Fe, N. M . to quell the Indian-Mexican troubles. Returning to Kansas in the spring of ’65 he participated in the expedition against the Price raiders. At Neutonia, Mo., he was wounded, but remained in the hospital at Fort Scott only a few days, and returned to service while scarcely able for duty, and served until mustered out by honorable discharge.

He was married, Jan. 30, 1884 to Miss Sarilda Ashlock at this place, and leaves her with five children to mourn the loss of a kind husband and father.

The remains were brought home this afternoon and funeral services will he conducted at the home on Ohio street, between 5th and 6th, by Elder Bays, tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Here’s the actual funeral as described by the newspaper: There were so many people that the house could not hold them all.

J.H. Mikesell's FuneralJ.H. Mikesell’s Funeral Fri, Jan 1, 1897 – 5 · Neodesha Register (Neodesha, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com


These two accounts made me wonder about the effect it must have had on the family left behind. In an era with no safety net, few jobs for women, and with children aged 5 to 11 years, Sarilda faced an uncertain future at age 29. She only had a third-grade education (according to the 1940 census).


Sarilda Ashlock

Their Children

Grace Mikesell

Fayren Louis Mikesell

Ethel Mikesell

Inez E Mikesell

J Collins Mikesell

Joe Mikesell's funeralJoe Mikesell’s funeral Sat, Dec 26, 1896 – 4 · The Neodesha Daily Sun (Neodesha, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The Pound Party

The very next month, the neighbors and friends held a pound party for Sarilda. I’d never heard of this custom, but the clipping gives some insight into it. Searching further, I found that a pound party is where each person brings a pound of something as an offering of support. I suppose many of the packages would have contained a pound of flour or other food.

The widow of the late J. H, Mikesell was treated to a generous surprise Sunday evening. When she returned home from a visit of several days in Chetopa township and entered the little home so recently saddened by the death of her husband, she found new paper on the walls and overhead, a carpet which she had recently finished, all sewed together and nicely put down, and the table laden with packages, parcels and bundles of the substantial of life.

Such was the method adopted by her many sympathizing neighbor friends who put into deeds their thoughts of love and pity. The pound party occurred and all was in readiness Saturday night for Mrs. Mikesell’s appearance but the inclement weather made her return home impossible, until Sunday afternoon. The great source of Good certainly has his abiding place in the hearts of many Neodesha people, for it has been our observation that such incidents as this have been more numerous here than in any of the surrounding cities during the past few years.

Clipped from The Neodesha Daily Sun04 Jan 1897, MonPage 4

What Happens Next?

The 1900 census shows Sarilda Mikesell, widow, supporting her five children by working as a washerwoman. The family is living in Neodesha, Kansas in Wilson County. In 1902, her oldest daughter, Grace, marries at age 16.

Sometime after 1900, Sarilda marries John B. Addis. I presume they divorce, as he continues living in Neodesha, Kansas while she leaves for Haskew, Oklahoma to prove up a claim she took there in the summer of 1903. She takes the two youngest children with her. Ethel Mikesell, the oldest girl at home, “will keep house for her uncle Dave here.”  (The Neodesha Daily Sun, May 24, 1904,  Page 4)

It was eight years after Joseph Mikesell’s sudden death that Sarilda was able to get a pension. I presume this is from his military service.

“B.S. Peavy, the pension agent of this city, has secured the allowance of original pension tor the minor children of the late Joseph Mikesell, in 73 days from the date of filing a claim therefor in the pension office, also the accrued pension due to Mrs. Sarilda Addis under widow’s certificate No. 463.504.” (Wilson County Sun, Neodesha, Kansas, 05 Feb 1904, Page 5)

Another Marriage

Addis (formerly Mikesell) marries John AugsburgerAddis (formerly Mikesell) marries John Augsburger Fri, Apr 21, 1905 – 4 · The Neodesha Daily Sun (Neodesha, Kansas, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Sarilda and her new husband, John Augustus Augsburger, eventually move to Texas. By the 1920 census, the children are grown and out on their own. It says she is working as a midwife. Then in 1930, she’s working as a nurse. By 1935, Sarilda is widowed again. She lives sixteen years as a widow, dying at age 83 in 1951.

The Joy Family in the Eudora Weekly News – 1880s and 1890s


I’m finding all sorts of tidbits about the Joy family in the Eudora Weekly News. Some names were unfamiliar but I figured they must link together some way or other so I’ve saved them. The other people mentioned with the Joys may be in-laws, future spouses, or just good friends. The parts in parentheses ( ) are my notes to clarify a news item. Here’s what I found for the 1880s and 1890s:


29 Aug 1889 – Belleview – The quarterly meeting at Belleview was well attended. Two ladies joined the church – Miss Hattie Joy and Mrs. Touse. They were also baptized.

19 Sep 1889 – Will Joy and Bert Dougherty expect to go to Arkansas soon.


03 Apr 1890 – Joshua Weston has purchased the old Joy farm west of Hester.

24 Apr 1890 – Steve Joy is back from Illinois.

rr schedule eudora ks 1890

The Eudora Weekly News (Eudora, Kansas) 24 Apr 1890, Thu • Page 3 Newspapers.com

29 Jan 1891 – George W. Joy of the Belleview district left Thursday for a visit to his old home, the Muskingum Valley, Ohio.

19 Feb 1891 – Geo. W. Joy returned from Indiana Friday morning. He says he is glad to get back to old Kansas; Indiana he does not like.

26 Mar 1891 – Will Joy moved to Johnson County last week. He will work for Solon Rogers this summer.

17 Sep 1891 – Bob Davis and Nelson Joy were visitors from here at the Soldiers’ reunion last Thursday.

10 Dec 1891 – A soliciting committee was appointed Sunday for the Christmas tree, consisting of Mrs. E.C. Allen, Hattie Joy, Edgar James, and Will Rayson.

4 Feb 1892 – Alfred Joy and Edgar James captured a wolf a week ago Sunday.

20 April 1893 – Mrs. B. Joy fatally hurt at Hawkins Bank, MO. (This was part of a long list of injuries and casualties from a tornado outbreak over several states.)

10 Aug 1893 – Alfred Joy, aged about 20, and residing with his parents near Belleview, was seriously injured Friday afternoon by being thrown under and run over by a wagon loaded with wheat. With others, he was engaged in hauling wheat from the field to the machine.

While waiting for his turn, he got off the wagon and rested in the shade. In attempting to get on again, he made considerable noise with the double tree. This frightened the horses and they started to run. He held on the reins for a few seconds and then stumbled and fell, one of the hind wheels of the heavily loaded wagon passing over his body.

He was carried off the field unconscious and Dr. Bishoff summoned. No bones were broken but it is feared he was injured internally.

28 Jun 1894 – Chas J. and Ben Foust and wives, Sol Wertz and wife and Geo. Joy and wife all went to Ottawa last Thursday to take in the assembly for that day. (I believe this would be the Ottawa Chautauqua Assembly.)

3 Jan 1895 RAYSON-JOY Married – Tuesday, January 1, 1895, at the home of the bride’s parents, near Belleville, Mr. George Rayson and Miss Hattie E. Joy. Reverend Lawrence of Vinland officiating.

The contracting parties are known to nearly all hereabouts. Mr. Rayson is at present a resident of Greenwood County, where he went from here a little over a year ago. The young lady of his choice has grown up in our midst and has made many friends.

There were quite a large number of relatives and friends present and a large and valuable list of presents received by the happy couple.

Mr. and Mrs. Rayson will leave almost immediately for Greenwood County, where they will start in housekeeping. They have the congratulations of numerous friends here and elsewhere.

21 Feb 1895 – Mrs. Arthur Coate died Friday morning, Feb. 15, 1895, at her home southwest of town, of peritonitis, aged 27 years. She was a daughter of Mr. Stephen Joy and was well known and highly respected in the neighborhood. The funeral was Saturday morning at 11 o’clock from Harmony schoolhouse, and remains interred in the Deay burying ground. The husband and one small child are left to mourn her departure. (This is Helen Elizabeth Joy.)

14 Mar 1895 – Geo. Joy and two sons are getting stone out of B.J. McBride’s quarry for the foundation of a new house.

13 Feb 1896 – Keystone – Mr. Alfred Joy and his new wife will occupy the Hausman farm, one mile north of the corners.

10 Dec 1896 – Mr. and Mrs. Alf Joy are happy over a brand new baby girl. (This would be my grandmother, Cora Joy, born in November 1896)

3 Nov 1898 – Mr. and Mrs. Levi Woodard and Wilson Cox of Greenwood county are visiting friends and relatives here. The young folks of Belleview enjoyed a taffy pulling at Mr. Will Joy‘s Saturday. The party was given in honor of Wilson Cox.

10 Nov 1898 – Steve Joy is on the sick list.

Pedigree View Ancestry com george joy

The Vinings at Pea Ridge School

Karen Kolavalli matched the names on the back with the children marked with an X.

Karen Kolavalli matched the names on the back with the children marked with an X.

Sep 2, 2002 – Notes by Gail Lee Martin

This is probably where the Vinings lived in Wilson County KS before moving to Woodward, Oklahoma area when Mother (Ruth Vining) was 5 years old.   Sure wish we could find school records!l
Sadie (Sarah) born 1876 Wilson County KS & died in 1958 at KS state mental hospital at Osawatama. 2nd child of Henry & Nancy Vining.
Jake (Jacob) born 1878 died 1914, 3rd.child, married Ida? (That is all I have on him)
Francis was (Francis Henry) 6th child born 1883, killed in train-car wreck 1934, father of Lester Vining who is in charge of Vining family.com.
Lucy was 5th child, born 1881
May (Laura May) was 8th child, born 1886 married & died at Woodward OK
Belle was 7th child, born 1884 married in Woodward, died in Wichita, great-grandmother of Debra (Brock) Bateman of the Vining family.com
Bessie was 9th child (in an 1895 Wilson County, Newark township census there is a Bertha not a Bessie listed with Henry’s family, birth date a year different) might just be a miscalculation on my part.
4th child William H., born 22 March 1880 & died June 1880.
Original photo showing students at Pea Ridge School in February 1893.

Original photo showing students at Pea Ridge School in February 1893.

In March 2016, this post received a comment that throws more light on the school. Here it is:


My father and grandfather moved the Pea Ridge School about 7 miles in the mid-1920’s using skids and horses and mules. It became the house where I grew up. It is still standing and I have recently donated it to the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum in Woodward. If it will hold together, they plan to move it to the Museum grounds in Woodward for restoration. Any information that you have about the school, including when it was built would be appreciated, as well as any other pictures. The picture shows to have been

Any information that you have about the school, including when it was built would be appreciated, as well as any other pictures. The picture shows to have been taken in February 1893, and the run was in September 1893, and the Historical Society has different dates as well. I can be reached by phone at (580) 727-4397 and e-mail is tom.lucas717@gmail.com.

(if anyone finds more information about the school, please phone Tom Lucas or email him or contact the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum)

Now here’s one more version of this photo. A very kind genealogist edited the photo for me. He removed the X marks and brightened up the whole photo for better visibility. He also removed the tear by the feet of the two littlest Vining girls.

edited pea ridge school pic
Below is a collage that Karen Kolavalli created which features the Vining children around the edge.
karens pc stitch version of pea ridge school vinings